Atlanta Braves: Jesse Chavez headed to the injured list, Braves recall Ben Heller

Jun 14, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jesse Chavez (60) is reacts
Jun 14, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jesse Chavez (60) is reacts / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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A day after getting hit in the shin on a sharp groundball, Jesse Chavez is headed to the injured list. This is disappointing news for the team, especially after a doubleheader where the Atlanta Braves used every reliever except for Michael Tonkin.

There was hope Chavez would avoid an IL stint yesterday. He avoided a broken bone and was diagnosed with a left shin contusion. However, after giving it a day, the Braves decided to give Chavez more time to heal. Hopefully, this IL stint is just to let him fully heal, and not a sign the fan favorite will be out for an extended period of time.

Before the injury, Chavez pitched like an All-Star, leading the team in ERA, and coming in at 5th among pitchers in fWAR. At 39 years old, the righty is having a career year in several metrics, including ERA, strikeout rate, and xFIP (believe it or not, he had a better FIP in 2021). Hopefully, this injury will not derail his chance of making his first-ever All-Star appearance.

Since coming to the Braves in 2021, Chavez has been among the most dependable relievers on the team, although it's been done in three different stints. In 115.2 innings, the righty has a 2.25 ERA and 2.7 fWAR.

The Braves recalled Ben Heller to take Chavez's space on the roster. Heller is likely not a familiar name to Braves fans. The 31-year-old reliever was acquired by Atlanta a little over a week ago. If he appears in a game, it will be the first MLB game he's pitched in since 2020, although he did briefly appear on the Tampa Bay Rays active roster earlier this season.

Heller has a career 2.59 ERA in 31.1 innings across four MLB seasons. This year with both the Rays and Braves AAA teams, he has a 3.68 ERA in 29.1 innings.